Rockford’s Stephanie Raymond headed for WNBA

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Earlier this month, the Chicago Sky of the WNBA drafted Rockford native Stephanie Raymond.

Raymond is a 2003 graduate of Rockford Lutheran High School. Following her successful high school career, she received a scholarship to play basketball at Northern Illinois University.

During her four-year collegiate career at the Division I school in DeKalb, she averaged 14.9 points per game. She is third all-time in 3-pointers made at NIU with 133, and she set the NIU single-season record for steals as a sophomore. Her career total of 212 steals ranks seventh on the career list at NIU.

Congratulations, and good for her! My contention is she hasn’t received the attention she deserves. I’m speculating that if her name were Stephan Raymond, and instead of being drafted by the WNBA’s Chicago Sky, the team doing the drafting was the Chicago Bulls, everyone in town would be talking about it. In my travels, I haven’t heard a single person mention it. I think that’s a shame.

Granted, she hasn’t even reported to the Sky’s training camp yet, but if she were male instead of female, I’m guessing this town would be reacting differently. We’d probably have had a mayoral proclamation by now. We’d have heard about it repeatedly on every radio and television station. We’d have seen him starring in a television commercial for one or more of our local sporting goods stores or restaurants. He’d be introduced as the guest of honor before one of our minor league hockey or football games.

Instead, and, in my opinion, unfortunately, this story has barely been a blip on the area’s sports radar screen. I’m not suggesting we rename the town after her, but a little more recognition from our community would be nice. She’s earned it.

Let’s all try to remember that even though female athletes don’t get the attention or adulation their male counterparts receive, they do work just as hard, or perhaps even harder. They also deserve our support.

Stephanie, BEST WISHES and GOOD LUCK in training camp! From this writer, and on behalf of The Rock River Times, here’s a well-deserved “ATTA GIRL!”

from the April 18-24, 2007, issue

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